Delara Darabi was executed after being convicted of murdering. Regardless of her innocence or guilt, she was 17 years old, when the murder took place.
For the last years, as a signatory of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Iran promised not to execute anyone under the age of 18, but despite this, over the past two years the number of child offenders executed has increased.
One of the child offenders executed was Atefah Sahaaleh. Atefah suffered from loneliness while taking care of ailing grandparents, who reportedly ignored her on a daily basis. Her father worked in a different town and admitted to using drugs. He believes that his lack of guidance and attention, had actually led to his daughter’s murder. Although, she had everything a girl could want or need. She missed her mother and was struggling to find her own path to follow.
At 13, she managed to get the attention of the Moral Police, when was arrested for being in a car with her male cousin. In Iran, it is against the law for boys and girls to be seen together for any reason. She was punished and released back into the community, but she was always on the Moral Police’s radar. Atefah was becoming depressed and acting out more, which caused her problems in her community.
She was only 16 years old, when she was being raped repeatedly by a 51 year-old local cab driver (who was married and had children of his own). But she was arrested and immediately charged with being a source of immorality and a terrible influence on local schoolgirls. During her punishment of lashes, she screamed out her attacker’s name. Atefah was in serve pain and admitted to being raped repeatedly by Ali Darabi. Nobody listened to her that she was the victim of repeated rape.
Although her family was unable to afford a defense counsel, the courts refused to appoint her a defense attorney. Her death sentence was imposed by Islamic mullahs for crimes against chastity. The judge was not only a Mullah but also the executioner and he proudly hung the noose around her neck himself. He had referred to Atefah as a 22-year-old but her birth certificate proved she was 16. Nobody knows why he was so eager to execute her that he’d falsify her real age.
On 15 August, 2004, Atefah Sahaaleh, 16, was hanged in a public square in the Iranian city of Neka. After her execution, the judge said publicly that her punishment was not execution but he taught her a lesson because of her sharp tongue.